"Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy” Psalm 43:4a, King James Bible
Our parish building is a simple example of the classical Christian worship space. It has a nave, a space for the congregation which includes no barriers or separations by sex or status and a slightly higher recessed area, the apse, which includes the altar and space for those who will be directly involved in the various ceremonies of the Mass. Both the pulpit and the lectern are placed outside of the apse, an indication that the focus of attention within it and the main visual focus of the entire arrangement is clearly the altar in its central high position.
The altar symbolizes a number of things. Most obviously, it symbolizes the table at which Christ and His disciples gathered for The Last Supper and His institution of the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, but this is merely one layer of the meaning of the altar. Christ Himself was at that meal foreshadowing for His disciples the breaking of His Body and the shedding of His Blood that was to occur so shortly thereafter, so the altar also represents Calvary, the Mount of Crucifixion. We are not called simply to a remembrance of the Last Supper, but also to a deeper reflection upon and appreciation of the meaning of Christ's sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross for us and all humanity.
That His death was an act of self-sacrifice is the theme of the seventh chapter of the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews. This chapter explicitly presents Christ as the true High Priest as well as the sacrificial victim which the High Priest offers in atonement for the sins of the people. The analogy is to Yom Kippur worship in the Jerusalem temple, so our altar is also a symbol of that temple's altar.
A further symbolism of the altar is that of a throne. The Roman soldiers' act of mocking Christ by placing a crown of thorns on His head was an example of what is known as “unconscious prophecy,” an act or speech which revealed a truth greater than the actor or speaker realized. Christ was then and always will be a king, The King of Heaven. The interior of our building is what is known in architecture as a basilica form, a rectangular chamber with a center aisle and two side aisles with a raised apse at one short end of the rectangle. This is the most common style of early Christian churches and a direct copy of the civil court buildings of the Roman Empire, with the altar placed where the magistrate's chair of office would sit in such a building. The Latin name basilica was derived from the Greek basilike stoa, meaning “place of royal judgment.” The Church's appropriation of it for its worship is thus a clear reference to Christ's kingship.
The other greatly important symbol of the altar is that of what is known as “The Messianic Banquet.” Although we have a very complicated representation of Heaven in the Book of Revelation, as well as the fanciful “harps and clouds” version so much beloved of cartoonists, Jesus' own most frequent representations of the next life of the saved is that of a feast, an occasion of enjoyment and companionship (yet another irresistible opportunity for my somewhat nerdy passion for etymology: “companion” is from the Latin companionem , literally "bread fellow" from Latin com "with, together" and panis "bread"). The altar then also represents the table of that joyful and eternal banquet that awaits us and all the faithful in Christ.
The altar is where past, present, future, and eternity all break through the world's busyness and distractions of our lives to show us glimpses of greater truth and deeper meaning. It is where our souls and minds are truly fed with Christ's Body and Blood. I urge you not to neglect it.
-- Fr Bragg+
All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own
have we given thee.
Please click here to donate to St Andrew & St Margaret of Scotland
Men's Breakfast, Saturday May 21, 8:30 AM, Full breakfast, Fellowship, Bible Study
Sunday Services, 7:45, 9:00 & 11:15 AM nursery care provided during 9 & 11:15 AM services (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )
Nursery at 9:00 AM & 11:15 AM Services
Sunday School, 10:30 AM
Vestry meeting, Monday May 23, 7:30 PM, undercroft
Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion
THURSDAY, MAY 26 – ASCENSION DAY SERVICE AT NOON
Please remember to pray for everyone on the parish's prayer list that is in the attached bulletins.
Your Food Donations are Greatly Needed
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar). Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar
Updated list: MaRIH Center is also in great need of our help (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need. If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)
Baby wipes (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 4, 5, & 6)
Sleep Sacks: Girls 0-6 mos.
Socks: Boy/Girl 2T
Short sleeved onesies: Boy/Girl 3-6 mos.
Diaper rash ointment
Copyright © 2022 St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.
Our mailing address is:
St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland
1607 Dewitt Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301-1625